Despite the challenges of growing up in foster care, Soraya Bellou recently graduated from the University of British Columbia with a bachelors degree in biology. (Contributed)

United Way invests $150K for Okanagan fostered youth to go to post-secondary

The Youth Futures Education Fund helps former foster kids pursue post-secondary educations

The United Way of the Lower Mainland has invested $150,000 in the Youth Futures Education Fund, a program that supports former foster kids, province-wide, as they pursue post-secondary education.

When going off to school, some young people have the support of family or friends to cover the immense cost. That’s not the case for former youth in care.

Despite the challenges of growing up in foster care, Soraya Bellou recently graduated from the University of British Columbia with a bachelors degree in biology. She has now completed her MCAT exams and is awaiting the results of her applications to medical school.

“When you’re young, you have big dreams,” said Bellou. “Dreams of graduating high school, going to prom with your crush, moving out of your family’s house and going to university – all with support from your family. But it’s different for kids in foster care.”

In her time in school, Bellou relied on the Youth Futures Education Fund to make her post-secondary dream possible.

“It relieved the stress of living expenses so I could focus on school,” she said. “Now, I can continue to pursue my dream of becoming a physician and giving back to others who have experienced difficulties in life.”

The investment’s impact will be felt across the Okanagan, helping several others in similar situations to Bellou.

According to the United Way, the investment will result in more local youth attending Okanagan College campuses on a provincial tuition waiver may receive support for living expenses — or those already receiving help could access more.

Last year, 43 students studied on a waiver across all four Okanagan College campuses and another nine did the same at UBCO.

READ MORE: Kelowna company apologizes for vulgar sign after vandalism

READ MORE: Details of arrest revealed in triple-murder case involving Kelowna dad


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Survey to help update evacuation plans for Shuswap communities

The CSRD wants to hear from the public about evacuation preparedness in their areas

Salmon Arm council to lobby for highway improvements, police officers and more

Mayor and councillors to have the ear of provincial politicians at UBCM convention

Salmon Arm’s Hillcrest Elementary shocked, saddened by death of teacher

Well-loved Grade 4 teacher passed away suddenly over weekend

Petition calls for regulation of cigarette boats on Shuswap Lake

Public call for tighter controls on the fast, powerful vessels initiated before Sept. 1 collision

‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ Trudeau says of brownface photo

Trudeau says he also wore makeup while performing a version of a Harry Belafonte song

Vernon race organizer head-butted by homeless man won’t be stopped

Man arrested after allegedly stealing race flags, assaulting woman in Kalamalka Lake park

Penticton man with multiple driving infractions loses appeal on ‘harsh’ sentence

Driver has been convicted multiple times, including for criminal negligence causing death

B.C. ‘tent city’ disputes spark call for local government autonomy

UBCM backs Maple Ridge after province overrules city

WHL action returns to Okanagan, Rockets GM anxious for season’s start

Big off-season changes, the Memorial Cup; it’s all coming together for Bruce Hamilton

B.C. drug dealers arrested after traffic stop near Banff turns into helicopter pursuit

Antonio Nolasco-Padia, 23, and Dina Anthony, 55, both well-known to Chilliwack law enforcement

Lake Country aims to find happy-medium in Airport Inn shutdown

Airport Inn residents will have until Oct. 5. to find a new home unless an appeal is approved

Okanagan resident recalls recovery journey after heart attack

Gerry Bakker shares his experience after his heart attack 16 years ago at the age of 48

Most Read